Tobacco Free-Campus

What: Piedmont Atlanta Hospital will be 100 percent tobacco-free, campus-wide.

When: Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

Where: All Piedmont Atlanta Hospital owned and leased properties, both inside and outside of all buildings, on grounds, interior streets and parking areas.

Who: All of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, meaning: all employees, physicians, patients, visitors, volunteers, EMS/public safety officials, contractors, and vendors must adhere to the policy.

Why: Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, and second hand smoke, in particular, places our patients at risk. As a healthcare leader, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital is committed to providing excellence in patient care, maintaining a safe, healing environment and promoting healthy lifestyles. It's the right thing to do, and this initiative sets a positive example in the community.

What does "tobacco-free" mean?

It means that no one is allowed to use any tobacco products inside or outside any Piedmont Atlanta Hospital locations. Smoking and the use of all other tobacco products (including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff and pipe smoking) are not permitted by anyone on the campuses of all Piedmont Atlanta Hospital locations, owned or leased, including: all buildings, entrances, walkways, grounds, parking facilities and in vehicles parked anywhere on Piedmont Atlanta Hospital property. In addition, the odor of tobacco smoke and other smokeless tobacco products must not be detectable on an employee or volunteer at any time.

Are smokeless tobacco products allowed?

Research shows that even the odor of tobacco causes problems with healing. We ask that you not use any kind of tobacco product while at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

Define "campus"—what constitutes Piedmont Atlanta Hospital property?

Smokers are expected to properly extinguish and discard cigarettes and any other tobacco products before entering Piedmont Atlanta Hospital grounds, respecting hospital property, as well as the grounds of neighboring organizations and public domain. Cigarette receptacles have been placed by all parking areas for smokers to properly dispose of tobacco products prior to entering the hospital grounds.

Why can't the hospital continue to have designated smoking areas in outdoor locations?

Providing a place to smoke does not support our goal to become totally smoke- and tobacco-free to create a healthier environment for our patients, visitors, employees and volunteers. Smoking and secondhand smoke are known health hazards. As a healthcare provider, we are committed not just to healing illness, but also to promoting wellness. Allowing smoking on our campus, even in designated areas, is not consistent with this commitment. We do not want our patients, visitors and employees to be exposed to secondhand smoke while on our campus. Allowing smoking, even in designated areas, does not support our goal.

Is smoking allowed inside cars?

Tobacco use is prohibited on all areas of the campus, inside and outside, including inside cars that are parked on hospital property.

Isn't smoking a personal legal right?

We are not asking employees, visitors and patients to quit using tobacco products but to refrain from using tobacco products while visiting or working at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

How will visitors and patients be notified?

Patients and their families/guests will be informed at the time of registration or admission that the use tobacco products on hospital grounds is strictly prohibited. Extensive signage will be in place by our go-live date, and various other methods of communication will be in place to ensure that visitors and patients are aware of the policy. For example, we will be issuing notification cards and scripted conversations to employees to utilize when approaching a patient, visitor, volunteer or fellow employee who is smoking on the campus. It is our hope that we can present a consistent message throughout the hospital.

Are other hospitals becoming tobacco-free?

Yes. This is a growing trend among hospitals nationwide to become completely tobacco-free and eliminate designated smoking areas. Within our Piedmont Healthcare system, Piedmont Newnan Hospital implemented its tobacco-free campus policy on January 1, 2012, Piedmont Fayette followed suit on May 21, 2012, and Piedmont Mountainside implemented theirs on January 1, 2013. Additionally, Piedmont Newton will also become a tobacco-free campus on November 17, 2016.


What kind of support is being offered to employees?

To assist Piedmont Atlanta Hospital employees who may elect to stop smoking, smoking cessation classes are available to employees and their spouses or domestic partners. To learn more about these classes, please contact Nita Cadic by e-mail at or by phone at 404.605.3564.

Additionally, there are several programs available to Piedmont Healthcare employees interested in quitting smoking. Smoking cessation programs that include comprehensive information and free resources include:

  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) section of the HR Village (Available to all employees at no cost)
  • Cigna Health and Lifestyle Management programs (Available to employees enrolled in the Open Access Plan at no additional cost)

Visit the Smoking Cessation page of the Tobacco-Free Environment website on the Piedmont Atlanta Hospital Village for additional resources.

What kind of support is being offered to visitors while on the hospital campus?

Visitors who wish to use tobacco must leave the hospital grounds in order to do so. Additionally, hospital employees will be trained to effectively counsel visitors on how to stop tobacco use. For more information on this training session, contact Bob Drumheller by e-mail at or by phone at 404.605.3554, or visit DCI to register.

What kind of support is provided to inpatients who smoke?

The attending physician should assess and discuss the need for Nicotine Replacement Therapy or pharmacological quit aids with the patient, and if indicated, write an order for such an aid. Additionally, all patient representatives in the Patient Relations department will attend training on smoking cessation techniques to better understand what our patients are going through in their struggle to quit smoking.

What if the doctor writes an order for a "smoke break" for an inpatient?

A physician's order to allow a patient to smoke ("a smoke break") will not be honored.

What if a patient leaves the hospital against physician's orders to smoke?

Patients who leave the hospital against the physician's order not to use tobacco products will be considered to have left against medical advice. If a patient requests to leave against medical advice, the nurse or other primary caregiver is to contact the attending physician immediately and follow hospital policy (#2057) for patients who request to leave AMA.

How will the tobacco-free policy be enforced?

The tobacco-free policy is an Environment of Care policy which affects all patients, visitors and volunteers and employees. All medical staff, employees and volunteers are empowered and responsible for using the appropriate enforcement protocol for occasions when any person uses tobacco products on the hospital campus. With regard to employees, the hospital policy will be reinforced by current HR policies governing appropriate dress and use of work time and will be enforced by hospital leadership and HR personnel.

To assist employees in approaching patients and visitors who are smoking on hospital grounds, enforcement tools will be provided on the Communications page of the Tobacco-Free Environment website on the Piedmont Atlanta Hospital Village.